Broadcast from home via telephone this time, rather than in the studio due to the Covid-19 emergency, here’s a slightly edited version of Sean’s transcript from 25.3.20 on Eleri Sion’s Show.
Everyone’s life and routines have been turned upside down in recent days and our house is no exception. There’s skateboards sitting idle. There’s a drum kit that won’t be going in and out for gigs. There’s a school prom that won’t be happening, but to my daughter’s relief, no exams to take either. Like many others in the same boat, my wife and one of our son’s work has dried up.
Many of us are worried at the moment – and that’s understandable. But, do you know what? … even in the early stages of this crisis, I’ve seen some signs of hope.
As you know, at Zac’s Place we do lot of work in Swansea with people who are vulnerable and often live on the streets. Last week I had a call from the NHS homeless outreach team, wanting to talk. I was desperate for advice to know what to do for the best in these days, but to my surprise, they wanted our help. Ahead of the game as always, they recognised the need to see every homeless or vulnerably housed person, not just quickly accommodated but also fed.
In a matter of days, volunteers have jumped to action alongside the council and welfare agencies. Already, this week in our area, around 160 vulnerable people have been safely fed each day from a community kitchen, with food delivered to their hostel or B&B. Of course, there’s huge challenges – how do you encourage people to isolate that don’t want to be? But we can try our best.
And there are surprises too. Some individuals who usually refuse support, are seeing the seriousness of what’s happening. They’re reaching out to take the help because they trust us, as we plead with them. And they in turn are reaching out to their mates and persuading them to take refuge.
And here’s the hope. In our communities, people are already working together to make sure others aren’t forgotten. And of course, it’s not just the homeless who are vulnerable. If we ourselves are not vulnerable, then within a very short distance from us, in our street someone will be.
As a Christian, I believe that none of us escapes God’s love. With his mates alongside, Christ reached out to those who would often have been ignored. And that’s how each of us can make a difference today. Who in our street, our community is in danger of being overlooked? Have a think – who are they?
None of us knows how long this pandemic will last.
But knowing you’re not forgotten, might be one of the most precious gifts, we can bring anyone in the coming days.
Sean Stillman. This a slightly edited version of the script from his ‘Wednesday Word’ for BBC Radio Wales, 25.3.20. (Weds Word producer Lisa Hawkins). The original is on BBC Sounds at approximately 1.47 in.